12 Days of AF: Indianapolis Chapter
From the pandemic to rioting in downtown Indianapolis, to the labor shortages, the last two years were full of challenges. Looking back, I’m proud of how the AF-Indianapolis chapter was able to pivot so that we can continue to build freer societies.
Due to COVID-19, we had to have a few virtual events and limit attendance for some of our in-person events. Our board also had to host events in some of the “donut” counties outside of Indianapolis because of increased crime and violence.
Both of our virtual events were very well attended. In January we hosted a personal branding workshop over Zoom that had close to 30 participants. In March we partnered with the Libertarian Party of Indiana and the Morgan County Economic Development Commission to host a Zoom panel about where our tax dollars go. For a virtual event, we had a little more than 90 attendees! This is the largest event we have had in terms of participants since I became chapter leader in 2016.
Some of our more popular events were our candle pouring workshop in February and our annual “Axe the Tax!” party in April. Both events were held at small businesses and our board enjoys hearing from the owners so that they can learn more about entrepreneurship. We had great feedback about the candle pouring workshop and look forward to making it an annual event. “Axe the Tax!” is arguably our most anticipated event and members love the ax-throwing competition on tax day.
I am most proud of the Dinner and Dialogue series we hosted in the last quarter of 2021. Our first speaker in September was economist Max Gulker and then we hosted author Alexandra Hudson in November. Both dinners were held at locally owned restaurants and had a diverse crowd. Alexandra specifically hosted a very compelling conversation about the differences between politeness and civility and the history of both. She left our attendees very motivated and we will most likely host a larger panel with her next summer.
In 2022, I am very excited to advance our impact initiative on community safety – specifically focusing on homelessness, addiction, crime. Indianapolis is on the track to once again break the record for homicides. So far in 2021, we have seen 160 homicides through August 4 compared to 130 homicides to date in 2020.
Nearly 2,000 people in Marion County (Indianapolis) are experiencing either sheltered or unsheltered homelessness in 2021, according to the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention’s assessment. This is the highest in 10 years.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Indiana’s drug overdose deaths rose 33% from 2019 to 2020.
Our members are very concerned about community safety and are motivated to make a difference in the greater Indianapolis area by hosting panels to educate others about these issues, volunteering at our local homeless shelter, and even working with elected officials to make our city a safer place to live.